Causes of the Rwandan Genocide

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Causes of the Rwandan Genocide

In April 1994, a terrible time for the country of Rwanda only got worse; the Hutu tribe which inhabited a large portion of Eastern Rwanda started a mass killing of many Rwandans, most of them being of the Tutsi ethnicity, a minority group in Rwanda. Sparked by Hutu nationalists in the nation’s capital of Kigali and spread through the country like a wildfire that simply could not be contained, the Hutu forces were strengthened by forcing civilians to take arms and kill the ones who refused to join the military. What caused this genocide was a combination of factors, such as the assassination of Juvenal Habyarimana, the nation’s president, the prior history of the Hutus and Tutsis, and a smaller revolution that took place in Rwanda earlier.

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The major cause of the genocide was the president’s assassination because Hutu extremists could use his death as an excuse to massacre Tutsis because they could easily blame it on a minority of people with no backlash, Habyarimana being a Hutu himself would in the minds of many eliminate Hutu extremist. Immediately after the presidents assassination the Hutu Extremist and Presidents guard also known as the impuzamugambi(Those who have the same goal) and that goal was to Eradicate the Tutsis. One of the first killings of the genocide came the next day when the Hutu Prime Minister along with her 10 bodyguards were killed leaving a vacant spot that could be filled by a Hutu extremist easy which it was, getting into the position was very easy as there was no put in place democratic system since the president had been murdered.

The Rwandan civil war was started in 1988 by a group called the Rwandan Patriotic Front they along with everyone in the country knew there had been tension for the better part of a century the causes if this were the fact that the Hutus were always thought of as worst than Tutsis sense the take over of the Germans in the early 1900s (When the war started things started to change as the Tutsis were severely outnumbered). Although the two groups are from the same country there are some differences appearance wise; like the facts the Hutus were darker skinned and shorter than the lighter skinned taller Tutsis which at the time the country was formed as a big social class factor which would enforce a standard in the country about skin color and who was better than the others.

    The Extremist had been planning for months to take over radios and televisions in the area to spark haterade in the whole country for Tutsis. Two main radio stations were taken, Radio Rwanda the official government radio way and  Radio Television des Milles Collines a private radio station started by a power circle that was around Habyarimana and his wife. Radio Television des Milles was very popular to the youth because it’s a hip and alternate voice in government. Late in 1993 the Extremist got on the radio and started to broadcast propaganda about the Tutsis creating fear against them, they would say such thing like the Tutsis are going to start a genocide against them. Locations of Tutsi prominent areas where exposed and encouraged to be attacked by all. Before Habyarimana assassination in the first few days of April 1994 Radio Rwanda begin to broadcast the same message reaching a larger crowd than before.

    In the early months of 1992 two militias were forming from groups of officials close to Habyarimana who would have easy access to weapons and vehicle,The two groups were, one I mentioned before the impuzamugambi and Interahamwe  Those who attack together(Resource information center 2001,pg.1) along with weapons they received they were given training by the Rwandan military forces. Together the militias killed 2,000 in 1992 alone most of the victims being Tutsis which would be dwarfed by the genocides killings. The group had plans to start a revolution for years which was made apparent by them sending a message to a Rwandan UN representative detailing that they had grown to 1700 trained and armed men who were spread around the country (Resource Information center,2001, pg.4) these forces deployed when told and didn’t care whom they were killing.

    A power-sharing agreement was made in 1993 between the Rwandan Patriotic front and Habyarimana which was meant to stop the war through some accords and laws called the Arusha peace accords. The RFP and the Rwandan military were told to give and become on the united force for peace. Habyarimana and defense manager James Gasana knew this would be a difficult task from the start ( Rwanda: The failure of the Arusha accords, Peter, Uvin,1998) to make matters worse this information leaked into the public creating fear in the minds of many. As the peace talks continued the military became more and more agitated realizing that there whole structure and strategy would change overnight, all this was only the beginning of the problems the bigger problem implementing to accords. The demonetization backfires and the two militaries intensified the building up of there armory and conflicts became more frequent. The conflicts happen because the RFP and Rwandan military could afford the pensions to join along with the facts that the government forces were mostly Hutus and the RFP were a Tutsi lead rebel group.

    Habyarimana’s Assassination created a power vacuum in the country making it impossible to stay ruler for more than a few days which lead to several violent Hutu extremist group taking the lives of countless Tutsis. Hutus also spread false propaganda throughout the country through media, such as by taking over radio ways, which is one of the only ways to communicate and express ideas and policies in Rwanda. Conflicting militant groups in the surrounding areas would often assist Hutus, which further sparked violent conflicts between the two ethnic groups.      

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Causes of the Rwandan Genocide. (2019, Jul 11). Retrieved November 26, 2022 , from

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